Intel sells land in Santa Clara to Legacy Partners

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Intel Corp. has unloaded a 3.3-acre parcel in Santa Clara — land that was once eyed as part of a large office campus for a tech company in the 1990s — to a developer, according to public records.

An affiliate of Foster City-based Legacy Partners bought the site at 3935 Freedom Circle last week for about $3.2 million, according to tax records. The location is home to Pedro’s Restaurant and Cantina, and is located smack dab against Highway 101 next to McCandless Towers.

The deal is not large, but it is interesting because Santa Clara-based Intel also owns two larger parcels totaling 13.2 acres next door. If Intel is in a selling mood, the land — a rare dirt field in the red-hot Great America Boulevard corridor — could generate a lot of interest. The property is adjacent to the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail and across the creek from Intel’s headquarters.

“There’s not a lot of those things left, especially north of Bayshore,” said Ruth Shikada, who heads up the city’s economic development department.

Legacy did not return calls for comment, and it’s unclear what its interest in the Pedro’s site may be. But the company is no stranger to this part of Santa Clara. In May 2013, Legacy bought a 12-building office complex called Marriott Business Park just across the street from Pedro’s from Rreef. Legacy is now offering that property for sale, according to very knowledgeable market sources.

Shikada said there are no recent development plans filed for any of the land, but the Intel-owned land has a long, winding history in Silicon Valley real estate.

Long owned by Peery Arrillaga, the land was bought in 1997 by Informix, a database software company that was flying high at the time. Informix planned a large corporate campus on the site. But just months after buying the property, Informix announced financial irregularities in its earnings statements, and it ditched the development plans. (Informix was eventually swallowed up by IBM.)

Intel scooped up the property that year for much less than Informix’s acquisition price, according to reports at the time.

The land was approved for a office project until 2012, when a development agreement between Intel and the city expired.

Intel didn’t return two requests for comment. The company has sold off some property recently, however. In Orange County, it sold a 30.9-acre site to industrial developer Murphy Development in September.

Legacy Partners is an owner, investor and developer. It is currently building an office project on Orchard Parkway near the San Jose airport.

Legacy bought the Marriott Business Park in a joint venture with AllianceBernstein U.S. Real Estate Partners. The Intel deal was likely a joint venture with the same partners, based on a copy of the grant deed I reviewed this week.

Nathan Donato-Weinstein covers commercial real estate and transportation for the Silicon Valley Business Journal.